For many new authors, the hardest part of getting published is just getting the attention of publishers. You have a brilliant book, but the publishing industry seems huge and monolithic. Except that now, publishers are paying attention to online sources.
Angry Robot Books put out a press release saying that they signed up a new author whom they found on Twitter, Adam Christopher. It certainly doesn't hurt that Christopher's book, Empire State, sounds like a heady mix of superheroes and alternate universes. Says Angry Robot's press release:
Christopher is well-known to many at the heart of the British science fiction community through his strong presence on Twitter, under the nickname @ghostfinder. It was through reading his posts that AR first became aware of him – a lesson to other prospective authors, perhaps. In keeping with Angry Robot's emphasis on the new channels for promoting all of its authors, he will of course continue to promote his work via Twitter. ...
EMPIRE STATE is a story of superheroes, and a city divided in two. Detective Rad Bradbury picks up the trail of a murderer, only to discover that the world he has always known is a pocket universe, recently brought into existence by an explosion of phenomenal power. With a superhero on his tail he crosses into a city that bears a remarkable resemblance to his own – a city called New York. There he uncovers a deadly threat to the Empire State, and finds that the future of both realities are at stake.
Note that the last time we checked, Adam Christopher doesn't have a million Twitter followers — but he's followed by a lot of influential people in the U.K. science fiction world, and chats with them online a lot. And it's not as if Christopher tweeted that he needed a publisher, and Angry Robot tweeted back, "Hey, we'll publish you." Twitter just brought him to the attention of the publisher, and this led to a real-world meeting.
The whole submission process was pretty straightforward – I knew the Angry Robot guys online (as the press release says, nothing would have happened if it hadn't been for Twitter!) and sometime in mid-2010 I dropped by their office for a visit. Over lunch I described Empire State, and outlined a few other novels I've also written (including Seven Wonders). Marc and Lee liked what they heard and invited me to send it in.
After that it was pretty much the usual thing – sample chapters and a full synopsis, and then the full manuscript was requested. The whole process from that initial meeting to signing the contract took about nine months. People talk about the publishing industry being slow but it's a complicated business. There were a lot of individual stages and checkpoints that Empire State had to get through before they made the offer.